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He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 ESV

Everyone who knew Jalen is mourning his untimely passing. We are all broken-hearted and disturbed by his senseless death. Many are angry that the life of such a promising young man could end so suddenly due to random violence. We are outraged that his black life did not matter to the person who shot the random bullet that killed him. We want answers and accountability. Yet in the midst of the pain we feel, we are reminded of the promises of God and are strengthened by the thought that Jalen's very last act on earth was prayer.

I believe while Jalen was praying the angel the Lord had dispatched to usher him back to heaven was in the car with him. In my spiritual imagination, I can see him smile as he let go of his friend’s hand who was praying with him in the car, so he can grab hold of God’s unchanging hand. I choose to believe that Jesus was in the car with Jalen as He was in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrew boys.

Naturally, his parents are devastated. Their hearts may never be fully mended from their loss. Yet their faith in God has been sustaining them. His mother said the Lord told her that everything is going to be fine after she received the call about Jalen. I have been impressed with her determination to trust God to bring her through her affliction. Because she has been looking to God for comfort, she has inspired many, including me.

It may take a very long time, but I believe the Lord will wipe away every tear from the eyes of Jalen’s family and loved ones. It is that hope that allows believers to turn a funeral into a home-going service. Even as we cry for the beloved that has transitioned, we know God can turn our mourning into dancing.

Jalen is certainly dancing in the presence of the Lord right now. I can see him smile and dance as he joins the Seraphim and Cherubim to sing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Indeed, the Lord deserves our worship and praise in life and death. Jalen did exactly that as he communed with the Lord on his way to heaven.

My memory of Jalen will always be that of a young man with a gentle disposition and a great smile. Jalen had an aura of peace. After all, the name Jalen means peace. And now he has everlasting peace. He is no longer susceptible to random violence. Almighty God has set him free to worship through eternity.

I pray the God of hope fill the heart of his parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family members with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit they may abound in hope as they mourn his untimely loss (Romans 15:13). May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort their hearts and establish them in every good work and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

To the rest of us who knew and loved Jalen, let us persevere in our service to the Lord as we await the time when we will see Jalen again. In as much as it possible, let us live with Jalen (peace) with everyone (Romans 12:18). Then we will able to see Jalen standing next to Jesus with that big smile welcoming us into heaven.

Prayer- Blessed Lord, please comfort Jalen’s family as only you can. May your peace abound in their hearts as they lean on you for strength in their affliction!

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